[Bards] Filking

Ken Theriot kentheriot at ravenboymusic.com
Sun Apr 27 12:31:09 PDT 2008



Just piping in one more time on the question of dating a particular piece.
In keeping with the theme of "there aren't always any right or wrong
answers," here is an excerpt from a class that Mistress Adelaide teaches on
Traditional Ballads.


"The main problem with dating songs is the fact that the songs themselves
were just not considered very important.  Most surviving ballads are
incidental to the text of the manuscript rather than being the main feature.
Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary on January 2, 1666, "In perfect pleasure I
was to hear her sing (Mrs. Knipp, an actress), and especially her little
Scotch song of Barbary Allen..."  But the first full text of the song wasn't
printed until 1740.  A tune was also printed in 1740, but it wasn't
associated with the lyric until 1790.

The tune most people sing wasn't published until 1850.  So how old is the
song?  You see the problem.  "Hey Ho Nobody Home" and "Three Blind Mice"
appear in print in 1609, with tunes very near their modern ones, but with
different numbers of lines and different words.  Things that grew and
changed via the folk process are incredibly hard to pin down to a single


Hope that helps.event though all these "it depends" answers may actually
make things LESS clear to you.  As Master Robin said, you just have to take
in all the information you can, and make the decisions that seem best to









From: Liz Wilson [mailto:ewilson618 at tx.rr.com] 
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 5:44 AM
To: Ansteorran Bardic list
Subject: [Bards] Filking


I am new to the SCA and the Bards List but I love Bardic competitions and

performances.  I'd like to try it myself although I am a very average

I probably could learn to tell stories.  I don't have much fear of public

and speaking because, although I am now a stay at home mom, in mundane life

I was an attorney for 15 years (and I'm still licensed).  If you can do

argument or argument in a courtroom when real money is at stake you can 

probably do Bardic (although not necessarily well!)


At any rate,one of my questions relates to Filking.  If I Filk a melody, is
it supposed

to be a period melody with SCA related words/theme or a non period melody

SCA related words/theme? Or a period melody on any theme?


If I'm performing at a Bardic competition and my persona is still being

developed, do I have to stay in persona?  For example, if I compete at

Springfaire, and my persona is 1315, can I do anything in period or am I

supposed to limit myself to what would have been heard in Scotland in 1315

anyone even knows what would have been heard!)  Can I just be kind of a

generalized performer and do things in period from any time frame?

What happens if I do something that is out of period (but not obviously



Also I am very familiar with repetoire from Scarborough Faire because I've

going for 20 plus years and I have a lot of recordings.  However these songs

not always in period.  For example, the words to Scotland the Brave, while

lovely, were actually written in the 20th century, and yet this song is

at Scarby.  Is it appropriate to perform at a Bardic competition or not?


Any ideas on how I find out what is in period and what

isn't for the Scarby or any other repetoire,

and what WOULD be appropriate at a Bardic competition and what

wouldn't?  I have a nice piece I am trying to prepare for Springfaire but I

don't know how to find out if it is period, other than just trying to do

searches on the Internet about it to see what I can find out.  


Any advice to a new Bard, who is taking herself way too

seriously, would be appreciated.


Christianna (hope they won't laugh at me)

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